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A Little Less Talk, A Lot More Action – Florida Style

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Again, we haven’t spoken for weeks.  I’ve been in Florida for Spring Break with my family.  You know, every year we go to watch a few of my sister’s softball games, visit my Godparents, hit the beach, and possibly a park.  Since there’s absolutely no way I could cover everything in detail with just one post, I figured you’d enjoy the pictures more anyway.

We left after Momma FF got home from softball practice around 6pm on Friday night.  The SIXTEEN HOUR car ride was probably the biggest challenge.  Yes, we stopped on the way down to stay overnight in a hotel after driving about 1/2 way.

We slept until Poppa FF felt rested enough to haul us the rest of the way to Florida.   Ate breakfast at the hotel,

Annnddd we were back on the road in no time.

Sunday morning I got up to go for a run, showered, and got ready for the day.   Poppa & Momma FF graciously treated the family to tickets to Hollywood Studios in Orlando.

Let the magic begin!  This year, we were super excited to have two special guys with us on our family trip.  JD, my adopted brother, and my amazing fiance, Jarid.

They provided entertainment, laugh, & love throughout the entire trip.

The weather was a bit shaky.  It rained on and off almost the entire day, but it didn’t put a damper on our fun!

We breaked for lunch around noon, pretty much in order to get out of the rain.  The only place we found inside, was a super swanky restaurant.  We had no idea what we were in for when we saw the prices.  Literally, all of the entrees were about $35/person.  When you’ve got six people in your party, that adds up pretty quickly.

I opted for the $15 cobb salad, as did Momma FF & sister FF.  I nixed the cheese, bacon, & eggs and stuck with chopped romaine, turkey, avocado, tomato & chives.  I had never eaten a salad that was so finely minced before!  It was VERY good…just not $15 worth good 😉

Poppa FF & Jarid each got the stuffed chicken.   Not exactly sure of the description.  I think it was stuffed with ham & cheese if I remember correctly?  The portion sizes weren’t impressive for the price, but it’s to be expected, I suppose.  JD got the duck, but I didn’t get a photo.

Regardless of the fact that we were freezing cold and sopping wet, we had a blast perusing the park the rest of the day.

Toy Story

Pirates of the Carribean

Indiana Jones

The set of a special effects action scene

The Wizard of Oz on the Great Movie Ride

The Little Mermaid

Alice in Wonderland costume

I had to!

Beauty & the Beast

Rock N’ Roller Coaster

Star Wars Tours

Jarid in the Tower of Terror

Special effects boat dock set

 

I was so excited when I found out that there’s a 2nd Tangled movie in the works! Tangled Ever After…cannot wait!  haha.

The Muppets Fountain

My cup of no-sugar-added, fat free vanilla that was free of charge from the sweet vendor in the park! Later on, Poppa & Momma FF treated us all to coffee, too!  It must’ve been a vanilla kind of day because I ordered mine with sugar-free vanilla syrup then, too! 🙂

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Wedding Progress.

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Lately, life has consisted of a few categorically different things.

Saturday morning, my brain was feasting on knowledge regarding the study of human disesases caused by bacterias & viruses.

Tuberculosis & leprosy were two that we studied during the last lab.  I’m finding Microbiology to be totally interesting…The problem is, each exam tests us on a HUGE amount of information!  I don’t think it’s physically possible to jam four chapters of the stuff into my brain at once.

After my brain was exhausted from my 8am-1pm class, we went WEDDING dress shopping.

Regardless of what I’ve been told about dress shopping, planning, and all that comes with the goodness of weddings, the process has not been nearly as stressful as it has been fun.

Granted, I probably have the most amazing group of girls in my bridal party…all cousins except one…

Wanna meet ’em?  Well, above you’ve got my cousins, Brooke & Brandi (my matron of honor).  They’re sisters, and since I was old enough to walk, Brandi & I were inseperable.  Maybe you remember my mentioning her a few times in the past? 🙂

Then, there’s my cousin Allison, who couldn’t join us for shopping, since she was away at college…

and Abbie, who couldn’t attend the shopping outting either, but sent me a very sweet text message the morning of, letting me know she was thinking of me 🙂

Then, of course both my younger sisters Myranda & Morgan will be in the wedding.

And last, but certainly not least, my lovely friend from high school & “little sister” from my h.s. basketball team, Lyndsie.  She frequently comments on the blog and I love her dearly 😉

The day was filled with excitement and although David’s Bridal, where we had an appointment after my Saturday class, was absolutely packed full of girls trying on prom & bridal gowns, we made the most of our experience.

I not only have picked out my bridesmaids dresses, but I found my dream dress *teaser above*, which I knew was the one, almost immediately.

After the shopping, we headed to Atlanta Bread Company for a nice little lunch together.

 So far, here’s what all I’ve got taken care of… the DJ, the church, the reception, the catering, the pastor, the cake baker, the florist, & the photographer.

As far as invitations & save the dates, I’m not sure where to go?  Any suggestions from experienced brides out there?  I’m thinking possibly Costco?  Here’s a little creation that I’ve thrown together on their site…the prices are VERY reasonable if you ask me!

 

Much love to you all!  I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of commenting over the next few days…life as I know it revolves around my 8-4 job, my college courseload, and my amazing fiance who deals with the chaos on a daily basis ❤

xoxo.

Naked Hands.

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First off, thank you all for the incredible amount of congratulations on Jarid & my engagement! 🙂

We are eccstatic and cannot wait to start the rest of our lives together.  For now, my hands are feeling naked, though.

Not only have I neglected to paint my nails for the past week, but I had to send my ring back to be resized. It was a 7 and I need a 5, unfortunately.  Hopefully, I’ll have it back before I know it!

In other news, we are proud to announce that we have officially named Bowman as our ring bearer.  Check out those baby blues!  They get me everytime.  His Momma, Bran, and my childhood BFF (cousin) & matron of honor, has already been a great deal of help with wedding planning.  We are totally going to pump this event out in six months.

I got an awesome email the other day from Kashi, and I really wanted to share it.

I love it when companies make it SO easy to help out people in need.  Seriously, please go “like” their page.  Starving kids will be benefitting from something SO simple that you can do in less than 30 seconds.

Speaking of starving…you’d think I was when I downed this plate of salad topped with roasted vegetables.

Butterleaf lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red peppers, roasted kale, roasted parsnips, with light ragu for dippage.

I offered some to my fiance, but he was busy with his noodles & grilled cheese, courtesy of Momma FF.

To play a little catch up, I’ll show you these beautiful flowers that Jarid sent to my workplace for Valentine’s Day. 

He ALSO gave me a Freckled Foodie customized apron, a memory book that he made, & energy truffles! 🙂  That guy is amazing, I’ll tell ya.

For HIS Valentine’s gift, I made him a scrapbook, too, and had ordered him a pair of awesome looking Sperry’s that he picked out while we were shopping together one time.

Mens Sperry Top-Sider Bahama Casual Shoe - Black

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along with baking him this No Sugar Added Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake Mix, which Sans Sucre sent me for review.  For the record, when it was done baking, I totally sampled it…DELICIOUS! (Official review coming soon!)

The directions say that you need water & oil, but I subbed 2 tbsp. of canned pumpkin for the oil and added red food dye to turn it a nice hot pink color…much more festive.

I wish I had taken a picture, but I actually baked it in cake form and then used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make individual little cakes 🙂  They were pretty cute if I say so myself.

Oh yeah, and he LOVES Nebraska (college football), so I snagged him this tee from American Eagle online.

Valentine’s Day was on a Tuesday, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating…after my basketball practice from 3:30-5:30pm, he met me at school (I used the locker room showers – yuck!), we went to the Pita Pit, got dinner for $7 (it was $3 pita Tuesday!), and he took me to see The Vow.

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I have wanted to see it since the first time I saw a preview.  Nicholas Sparks is a genius, amen?  I think I almost cried approximately 5 different times throughout the movie.  LOVE Rachel McAdams.

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There’s another NS movie in the works that we saw a preview for, too, which I’m excited about called “The Lucky One” with Zac Efron, who is also growing on me as an actor.

Anywho, how was your Valentine’s Day?

Xo.

Love & Basketball.

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Yesterday was the last regular-season home basketball game… 2.7.12…it was also a day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

A bunch of family members & friends (My Aunt Teena, Momma FF, Momma Snyder, Uncles on my Dad’s side of the family, the surrogates, & co-workers) were in attendance at the game, since they didn’t know if they’d ever get to see me play again.

After coming back into the gym from our half-time locker room talk, the team started shooting around to warm up for the second half of the game.  I headed for the bench, where my water bottle was, to get a quick drink when Jarid made his way to the floor from the bleachers.

He had flowers in his hand, which I assumed were in recognition of my last game…I was wrong.  When he finally got to me, He got down on one knee.  At this point, everything around me completely disappeared and I forgot where I was.  Honestly, the only thing that mattered was he & I.  Not the score, not the team, not the fans.  He said, “Sami Alyssa Cox, you are my best friend and soulmate.  I met you on a basketball court and fell in love with you, now I’m asking you to marry me on a basketball court“… 

I, of course, said YES!

It all happened SO quickly.  But don’t worry, we reinacted it when the game was over.

When we got home from the game, we got some dinner & Poppa FF brought home some bubbly to celebrate!

I can’t wait to start our life together!  We are thinking about aiming for September 15th, 2012 as a wedding date.  What do you think?  Can we pull it off in 6 months? 🙂 

I can’t wait to be Mrs. Snyder ❤

xoxo,

Day Two in Ph[ill]y♥

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SO, where were we?

Oh, yes.  After the excitement from the Sixers game, we went back home to our hotel & passed out.

In my dreams, I could still see the glittery confetti and hear the chants from the crowd for Big Macs, since the Sixers were only a few points away from breaking 100 points.

I woke up around 8am and had already declared it a “rest day” from exercise, regardless of the fact that there was an awesome fitness center at the hotel.  Jarid & I opted for the pool & hot tub instead.

Pool

It worked wonders for my sore back & neck muscles due to a physical game of basketball the day before. 

Once back at our room, I jumped in the shower to rid myself of the chlorine scent, while Jarid ordered room service and went downstairs to grab me a yogurt & banana from the Starbie’s.  I brought my own to-go pack of Coach’s Oats, which ended up coming in handy. 

I made a raw oats, Dannon Oikos (not near as good as Stonyfield or Chobani), and banana parfait (total $3.11) while Jarid enjoyed his room service omelette, roasted potatoes, and toast (total$19.00) each with a side of coffee.  I mixed my room Starbie’s with some diet hot chocolate for a cafe mocha.  Mmm.

Then, we were off!

First stop: The Liberty Bell

Second stop: Independance Hall

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Third Stop:  The Constitution Center

Next stop: WHOLE FOODS for lunch.  Isn’t he the best?  Patronizing me with trips to WF…  Any other guy would think I’m totally silly for getting excited to go to a grocery store for lunch.  That’s just another reason why he’s not just any other guy 😉

Honest to goodness, it’s probably a great thing that I don’t live closer to one of these…Probably half of my paycheck would end up going to this place.

There’s so much to choose from in the healthy, nutritious department!  I got roasted greenbeans, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, cucumbers, chickpea salad, more seafood paella, spinach, vegetarian chicken salad, etc.  A little bit of everything was the best option for me 🙂 

Jarid loved their mac n’ cheese & baked goodies!  He also thinks it’s hysterical to act goofy when I’m taking pictures for the blog 😉

It was his brilliant idea to take pictures of my favorites so I could recreate the recipe at home!

Szechwan Noodles ingredients: organic durum whole wheat noodles, carrots, onion, zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sea salt, & spices.

Paella ingredients: rice, blac beans, tomatoes, grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp, roasted garlic, parsley, saffron, green onions, red onions, salt, pepper, paprika 

 After lunch, we stopped over at the Magic Garden, something we had passed the night before, but it was dark and wouldn’t have had time to stop before the game.

They asked for a donation to enter, but we could see a lotof the artwork from the outside, so we checked it out briefly and kept moving. 

The Magic Garden is a folk art environment, gallery space, and nonprofit organization that showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar, a man who dedicated most of his life to beautifying the city.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around random shops in the city.  I found a cute Coach wristlet, but I decided I would spend more money in Whole Foods before we left on some groceries I couldn’t get back home instead 🙂

Jarid found an awesome Braves hat for $15 and I encouraged him to get it.  I mean, he looks adorable in it, no?

Soon, 4pm rolled around and we had to be home for a birthday party in my family…I swear, we are constantly running from one thing to the next.  The ride home was super relaxing.  I love riding shotgun with Jarid in the driver’s seat ❤  Can’t wait to do it for the rest of our lives!

Overall, it was another amazing trip…we did have some bloopers, though…

Blooper #1 – Saturday, Jarid drove an hour out of the way to the wrong college and missed the first 1/2 of my game.  Same name, different school.

Blooper #2 – Saturday night, we couldn’t find a parking spot near WF.  We tried parallel parking in a really tight spot & ended up creating a HUGE line of traffic in the middle of an intersection.  The Philly natives were NOT happy with us.  WE tried and tried, but ended up in a $12 parking garage for just 20 minutes.

Blooper #3 – While we were on our way to the game, some toolbag decided he didn’t stop far enough behind the yellow line at a red light.  We were behind him, and he definitely backed into us. 

Blooper #4 – We spent all our cash on dinner & parking (unexpected expense) at WF, not thinking about the fact that it cost $15 just to park at the Wells Fargo Center for the game.  FAIL.

Blooper #5 – After the game, we forgot where we parked and ended up walking the entire circumference around the Fargo Center.

Blooper #6 – On the way back to the hotel after the game, we accidentally went down a one way street, but we didn’t get caught.

Blooper #7 – We did the same thing (see #6) on our way to sight-see the next day…but we did get caught…Jarid thought he was going to get arrested, but thankfully, the cop didn’t even give us a ticket! 

Blooper #8 – Jarid bought a soda that had a screw off top right before we went into the Constitution center.  Needless to say, we had to wait for him to chug it outside, after a little bit of a spill, because drinks weren’t allowed.

Quite frankly, I wouldn’t change a thing about our trip.  We were a perfect team, even when the odds were against us 😉

Stay tuned for a bunch of product reviews!

XOXO.

The Many Adventures of Sami & Jarid

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You’ll have to excuse the gritty pictures (they were from a cell phone), but I had to share with you our awesome date from last weekend.

I had some money left on a birthday giftcard from Color Me Mine, and the last time we went, we really enjoyed the relaxation of talking and painting together. 

Jarid is a good sport about trying “girly” things and really loves watching me get creative.  He’s pretty talented himself, actually.

I think he was kind of digging the fact that I mentioned picking up Chipotle, which was in the same plaza as the paint place, for dinner.

Anyway, the selfless person that he is, he decided on painting a vase, that way, “when he buys me flowers, I can use it to hold them“.  Does it get any sweeter than that guy?

I was pretty impressed with the final product!  He was so cute, trying to make sure each of the flowers on the front were perfectly shaped. 

We get to pick them up on Friday night.  I’m excited to see what it looks like after being fired in the kiln!

I painted a bowl (of course, for optimal food photography), since I use bowls and mugs for almost everything I eat.  It’s very rare that I use a plate!  After all, don’t th best foods come in bowl form?  (Oatbran, cereal, salads, roasted veggies, soup, etc.)

See?  Chipotle knows what I’m talking about 😉  I picked a burrito bowl with black beans, corn salsa, fresh tomato salsa, romaine lettuce, and fajita vegetables.  The corn was probably the best part.  It was totally flavorful & sweet. 

Another successful date night!

Stay tuned to see what the glazed items look like POST glazing.  I’m sure they’ll be making an appearance on the blog shortly after 😉

 

xo.

Thirsty Thursday.

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So, to start off Thirsty Thursday, and no, I don’t mean I’m going out binge drinking tonight, I’ll announce a winner…as I sit here and chug my Pepsi Max, shamlessly.  See, I tried to give blood this morning, but after the woman dug around trying to tap into my vein for about 5 minutes, I called it quits.  My reward for the pain?  A zero calorie, artificially sweetened form of caffeine… 46mg per serving, to be exact.  Don’t worry, the rest of the day, I’ll be chugging water at my desk…you know, during the amount of time that I’m not spending running from work to class and back again around 11am.  Yipeeeee

Anyway, the winner of the It Works giveaway is Josie Chow!  Congratulations, Josie!  Please email me at freckledfoodielove@gmail.com to claim your prize as soon as possible.  I can’t wait for you to be a believer! 

Next?  A few random things that I’ve been up to the past few days. 

#1. The boy and I bought a Living Social coupon to try out some Latin food at Arepa City in Harrisburg.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t accept our voucher since we ordered it to go…

Jarid picked the Chicken Guisado Arepa slider – “slow cooked chicken breast in tomato sauce” and the Grilled Tenderloin Skewer, but I was a nice girlfriend and also shared the side of black beans that I ordered

to accompany my Ensalada de Palmito – “hearts of palm, avocado & tomato over spring mix with balsamic”.  The black beans were excellent, actually.  When we go back for our “sit in” meal to use up the voucher, I’m getting the SAME thing. 

#2.  I’ve got some new artwork from my little guy in Nicaragua to decorate my cubicle. 

I’m sure you guys know by now that I’m a huge advocate of Compassion International.  I wish I could show off Isaac’s progressing pictures over the years, but I don’t feel it’s right to violate his privacy that way.  He really is adorable and his letters just melt my heart.

#3. Winter break is officially over and Spring 2012 semester has begun.  our team’s first game in the 2nd half of our season, although it was a non-conference game, was a little rough. 

This team from Hagerstown, MD was pretty good, but we could’ve hung with them, had we been on our game.  The first round, we only lost by 6 points.  

Something I’ve found to help me maintain a high energy level throughout the 40 minutes of high intensity cardio of the game, are these FRS low calorie, peach-mango drinks.

Not only do they taste awesome, but they’re made of great ingredients, which is important in my book…for just 25 calories.

Ingredients:  Water, white grape juice concentrate, orange juice concentrate, Inulin, Citric Acid, Natural Orange Flavor, Quercetin, Ascorbic Acid, Gum Arabic, locust bean gum, Green Tea Extract, alpha tocopheryl acetate (Vit E), Sucralose, Caffeine, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Natural Lemon Flavor, Beta Carotene (for color), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (B2), B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Practices have been getting increasingly more intense, too, in order to prepare for games.  After all, you play the way you practice, right?    

Yep, it’s a little blurry, but this monitor definitely read 1015 calories burned in 1 hour and 58 minutes.

I’ve been getting some good workouts in at home, too.  Thankfully, the amazing Toshiba Thrive that Jarid got me for Christmas has been coming in handy when I need something to preoccupy me on the elliptical in the basement.

Bruce Almighty, anyone?  I ususally do Insane Abs DVD, bike on the stationary, and then elliptical for the lenghth of either a movie or one of my favorite TV shows (Extreme Makeover Home Edition, One Tree Hill, Biggest Loser).

Or until I feel like that 🙂

#4.  For my Grandma’s birthday, we got family pictures taken and framed.  I never realized that the photography studio at JCPenney, where my cousin works and got a great discount, was such a decent place for pictures.

Not too shabby, right? Jarid was a good sport, held my purse, and made goofy faces at me through the class to ensure a genuine smile 😉

 #5.  I think I’ll be ordering Annie’s Lite Honey Mustard dressing from iherb.com for the rest of my life…or until the grocery stores in my area start stocking it on shelves.

Speaking of groceries, though… 

Here’s a recent trip and all my findings:

Let’s see what we’ve got here: Sonoma Jacks Light Pepperjack cheese wedges, spaghetti squash, red, yellow, & orange bell peppers, parsnips, pre-cut summer squash & zucchini, frozen vegetables, fat free cottage cheese, unsweet almond milk, bananas, and canned beans

I think the majority of my money spent per month goes toward groceries…what better thing to spend money on than something healthy & nutritious, though, right?

Oh yeah…I mean, other than fun outings with this handsome guy.

He’s usually a total gentleman, though and insists on paying for everything.  Every now and then, I get sneaky and manage to pull out my wallet first 😉  I must say, though…I can always count on him to take good care of me.  This is honestly the happiest I have ever been…and it’s pretty apparent to everyone in my life.

Whether it’s taking over a random photobooth in the mall, going to Wegman’s for an after church lunch & shopping,

or simply a night cuddled up on the couch reading to each other from our daily devotional book.  I feel SO blessed to have him.

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Right now, we’re reading, “Love is a verb” by: Gary Chapman.  It’s perfect for everyday, because it’s a series of short stories.  We typically each read one and call it quits for the night, since we’re so busy and want to soak up relaxation time on weeknights.  My cousin & her husband (another Jared), gave it to us for Christmas.

So, here are a few questions for Thursday:

1- What are some GREAT books on your t0-read list? 

2- What’s your favorite “date night” with your significant other?

3- Favorite salad dressing?

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go chug some H20 now…after all, it is Thirsty Thursday 😉

XO.